I could see them smiling heartily. One was as big as a whale and the other was as tiny as a mouse. They were tied together with a long rope. They had this striking resemblance and it was so obvious they were identical twins. Suddenly, their faces turned sour and both of them started spewing blood. “Mummy…!” They screamed falling to the ground. Immediately, I jumped out of my bed breathing heavily. It was just a nightmare. The same usual nightmare!
My name is Mrs Bello. The numerous strands of white hairs on my head and my wrinkled face should tell you I’m pretty old. Well, not so old as you would think. My story is one that can pierce through your heart and break its chambers. It’s really heart breaking and sorrowful.
I was married for 20 years without a child. I’m sure you know what it means to be barren especially in our dear country. The shame and humiliation was too much for me. Well, my husband was my comfort all along. He kept assuring me that we would definitely have our children someday. I believed his words and I kept hoping.
“You are 2 weeks pregnant” the voice of the doctor echoed the air. We couldn’t believe our ears. Was it a dream? Was he joking? Pregnant at 44? It was just a miracle. Dead flames of happiness were rekindled. Our joy knew no bounds. In fact, we were the most happiest people on Earth that very day we got the news.
Three months later, we went for an ultrasound scan and it was revealed that I was going to have a twins. We were so glad and over joyous. After the whole delay, God had finally decided to bless us with two children simultaneously.
Sadly, our joy and happiness were short-lived because we got a bad news some months later. Subsequent ultrasonography revealed I had Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS).
“What on Earth is this syndrome?” My husband queried the doctor with fury. I was already shedding tears. Why can’t I just have my babies in peace? Why was life just unfair to me? I kept on crying.
Eventually, the doctor explained everything about the syndrome. He said it was a rare pregnancy condition affecting identical twins and other multiples that share one placenta.
It’s a disease of the placenta in which abnormal blood vessels connection forms in the placenta and leads to an uneven distribution of blood between both babies. One twin called the donor becomes dehydrated and malnourished as it doesn’t get enough supply of blood. The other twin called the recipient gets too much blood and develops high blood pressure and high amount of urine which leads to an enlarged bladder and excess amniotic fluid in its sac.
The only feasible solution the doctor gave was to undergo fetal surgery as soon as possible. The next day I was taken to the theatre. What was the result? Sorrow and anguish was the result. I lost both of them.
It’s been 2 years since the death of my babies, yet I keep having the same nightmare anytime I close my eyes to sleep. I’m weak, depressed, shaky, fragile, tired and lonely. My husband has left me and is now married to a young lady. I have no hope of bearing children anymore because menopause had set in. What then is life to me? Useless!
I took my car keys, ignited the car and drove down the roads of Lagos. It was just 6 am. As usual, the highway was as busy as a bee since it was Monday morning. I had gotten to the Third Mainland Bridge. Luckily for me, there was no traffic jam on the bridge. I found somewhere to park my white Toyota Corolla car and I got down. I walked towards the edge of the bridge as fast as I could.
“SPLASH!!!” I jumped into the Lagoon with my eyes tightly shut. I could feel myself sinking down into the water so fast. I was suffocating and I couldn’t breathe. It was probably the end for me. “WEE-oww-WEE-oww”, the sound of siren blazed the air.
“Approximately, 1 in 5 identical twins pregnancy (with a shared placenta) develop TTTS. She was one. Be informed, Be educated, Be ready”.
Writer: Isibor Precious Delta State University, Abraka, NIGERIA